“Gratitude” Essay from the Composer

A Message from Gary Malkin, the Creator of the Spoken Word and Music Montage utilized for Brother David’s and Louie Schwartzberg’s Wisdom Film, “Gratitude”

There’s something about the way our voices sound when we’re fully embodying them. Each of our voices is unique, like hieroglyphic thumbprints of who we truly are. Some people embody their essence so fully, the very sound of their voices can mysteriously soothe us, conveying an experience of what feels nourishing and true, the way it felt when, as children, we were being “tucked in” by our parents as a story was being read to us before we gently fell asleep.

That’s how it felt when I listened to Brother David Steindl-Rast that autumn day as I was recording him for a project his non-profit commissioned me (and a friend) to produce. We had been asked to create a recording that would make it possible for people to hear direct testimonies from those who believed in the mission and vision of Brother David’s non-profit, A Network for Grateful Living, as part of a new funding campaign. Little did I know that this simple message Brother David shared with me that day – for which I ultimately composed the music – would be shared with literally millions of people from all over the world, thanks to the inspiring artistry of award winning cinematographer, Louis Schwartzberg.

I have been recording heart-opening messages from those who we call “wisdom keepers” for many years now. No matter how famous these people were, my creative partner and I would invite them to share an extemporaneous message directly from their heart to humanity, as if humanity were one, solitary person. However, the real magic inside these messages was revealed when we added original music.

Most of have know that music has the power to arouse our emotions like few other art forms can do. When we enhanced these messages with music, we learned that these spoken word and music montages made it possible for the listener to hear these messages not only with their ears – but with their hearts as well. As a result, we felt that if enough of these messages could be disseminated, we would be playing our part towards spreading greater compassion, forgiveness, loving kindness, and – gratitude – during these remarkable times of challenge and change.

Created by a true artist with a lifetime commitment to the transformative power of visual beauty, Louis Schwartzberg’s “Gratitude” offers us a visual piece of transcendence, resulting in a form of media artistry that is shamanic in its power, accessible to anyone from any cultural or socio-economic background, disarmingly simple and perfect in execution. This piece also demonstrates what happens when we can collaboratively bring a diversity of talents together – creating a whole so much greater than the sum of the parts.

By honoring who many consider to be “the Godfather of the Gratitude Movement” in this way, Brother David’s lifetime message has been immortalized and preserved for future generations to experience again and again, ensuring that the universal value of gratitude will forever be enshrined as a core value to the human experience. Thank you, Louie and Brother David, for giving me the honor of participating in an unexpected and thrilling artistic adventure that will hopefully be the first of many of these soulful expressions of wisdom, music, and images to be created in the future.

Gary Malkin
October 7th , 2012

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